"Mike, it's Adam from Slice. You got the goods? Where you at?"
"Yeah. I'm on Crosby Street, behind FCI."
It was like a back-alley drug deal, but with pizza.
Michael Cariglio, pictured above, got roped into a sort of 500-mile "pizza delivery" by his dad, Larry Cariglio, who you may know around these parts as thezaman.
A couple weeks ago, Larry emailed saying that Mike, a student at the French Culinary Institute in NYC, makes a thick-crust half-sheet pan pizza one day each week as the group meal for his class. The recipe, of course, is the same one used at the Cariglios' pizzeria, Lorenzo's, in Oberlin, Ohio.
"Mike could make you a sample of our pizza," Larry wrote, "You'd just have to go pick it up."
And so I found myself at the corner of Grand and Crosby streets on Friday, looking for the guy in chef's whites holding a pizza box. He wasn't hard to find. The deal went down quickly, and I had this box in my hands in a matter of seconds:
Well, here's where I would "open" the box, show you the contents, and reveal that the pizza within is not Lombardi's. But you've already seen the goods, so I'll just give you a close-up of them here:
This is a cheese-lover's pizza, with plenty of the the stuff* baked to a nice golden-orange in spots over a lightly herbed pizza sauce. Almost like a Greek-style pizza, the crust is oily (in a good way), crisp, and light. It was even better after we revived it from the delivery with a quick turn in the toaster oven.
"We don't claim to make artisan pizza," writes Larry, "Just regional style with good ingredients. My cheese stays creamier than what you probably got. Mike said they use Polly-o mozzarella and that was all he could get. From the pictures Mike has sent, the dough looks right. I don't know if the famous NYC water improves it or not. We cook our sauce in 30 gallon batches, so reducing it to a small batch is his interpretation based on the ratios of ingredients we use. Mike has very good taste buds, so he probably got close. We also use a provolone-mozzarella blend for our cheese. This is the choice in our area of Ohio."
The Cariglios' half-sheet pan pizza was deeply satisfying, so much so that everyone in the office couldn't resist snacking on the small squares throughout the day. It was almost gone by the time we left, and we're polishing off the leftovers — after having reheated them in the Deni Pizza Bella — right now.
* This should please the folks complaining about the frou-frou little pizzas we've featured a lot lately on Slice.